So I fell sick with a flu and a cough. It started with a cough and then my nose slowly transformed into a nasty tap. Yeah, it's one of t...

One of those days...

So I fell sick with a flu and a cough. It started with a cough and then my nose slowly transformed into a nasty tap. Yeah, it's one of those~ hate being sick. But there is only me to blame for I ate too much roasted cashews one night in the office and I knew it was gonna come and started downing bottles and bottles of water. Sadly, it didn't help at all. Over the weekend, didn't have proper rest so today I took my first MC from work.

Perhaps falling sick was good so that I get time away from work for a while. I think I've been too absorbed in it that I forget to stop. Yeah, people actually forget to take care of themselves. And I've been thinking a lot about things lately. There's been organisational shuffling, some of my friends are heading to another team. I feel like I've lost a few good men and I've to readjust to a new team with people I'm not as close to. Sigh, getting used to work is already one thing and now, I've to get used to organisational changes. Back to square one. Though I'm actually quite excited because there seems to be a revamp of things and I'm put into a team that will be thinking of ideas for a bulletin's new look. Deep down, I'm really really excited. But the sad thing is, not everyone shares my enthusiasm. I think colleagues who have worked in the company for a while feel like everything is a chore and that there's nothing much to look forward to, while I am actually ecstatic to get things moving.

That's what I miss about school. Wkwsci specifically. At wkw, people just do things. People do BIG things. They don't complain about how tiring it is, we just do. No matter how impossible it sounds, we actually execute plans and think of solutions together. We were high achievers and the sky was the limit. We were the dreamers and the idealists. Perfectionists even, if you ask. That's what I loved about my time in wkw - the spirit of its people. And that's what I miss about school. That momentum, that drive, that morale. It was addictive. Final Year Projects? We could do whatever we wanted. Literally, anything. And I think start-ups tend to be extremely dynamic and if ever I get a chance to, I'd love to be part of a movement like that. It can get very dull and dry in a big organisation because people seem to have lost that drive when they're part of the mill. It's good to learn from the older folks there, but older folks also tend to have lesser energy and motivation to do anything and they're averse to change.

Speaking of Wkw, I'm currently reading a book on Wee Kim Wee, the man himself and his journalistic legacy. We only remember him as one of our Presidents, but little did I know that he was one kickass journalist back in the day when he was working for ST. He went to East Germany to cover the Cold War, went to Congo to report on the Malayan troops' progress as part of the UN Humanitarian Army and snagged an interview with Suharto to announce the end of Konfrontasi. His life as a journalist was colourful, and I wonder why our journalists no longer report on such things. Probably because we now live in peaceful times and back then, it was political turmoil all the time. His legacy inspires me. I think there are still a lot of things to report on in Singapore. We just have to dig deeper and harder...

The suicide story that I'm doing is still in the works. I must say that it has been draining as well, emotionally, because of the stories I hear. Didn't expect it to take so much time. But if it's a story worth doing, then it's a story worth the time and effort (and scolding haha). Yeah, I found it tough to get my angle and the intentions for doing the story right. I also struggle with how much I want to put out there because suicide is still such a touchy subject. Is Singapore ready to address this issue? Well, she better be because it looks set to become a problem in the long run.

And then yesterday was also one of those days when I had to suck it all up and push on. I was told that my writing had to improve. I appreciated the feedback, but of course couldn't help but feel knackered by it.

Well, this is the real world indeed.

Quite a few people have told me that I've lost a bit of that zest in me. That I've become a lot more contemplative and mellow. That I lost my idealisms. Can be quite scary, but I think it's also because I'm adjusting to the real world. I love being idealistic and I still am idealistic, but I must balance it with what the world is like and I think that comes with managing my expectations. I can go further and longer when I choose my battles. And I think that's how life works as well.

I spoke earlier on about missing school, but I wouldn't want to go back to it no matter how much I loved my time there. Because I know, that was the time when I explored and discovered my passions and interests. Coming out of it and into the working world is part of the process. This is back to square one. My brother tells me that the problem with our generation is that we expect to do a gazibillion things once we get out of school, but the reality is... it's primary school again when we enter the working world. Your degrees put you through the door, but it is how you wade around after that that determines where you go in life. Not what you did - not what PSLE score you got or which University you went to. It's all about building your empire from scratch now. So it is baby steps and finding my feet in a new world. It's not easy, and takes a bit of adjusting.

My birthday is also coming soon. This year hasn't been my best year. And I think it's a year of transition. Transitioning into adulthood. It wasn't when I turned 21. It's when I turn 24 this year. I'm kinda looking forward to the new year already because it's a fresh page, a fresh start.

Right now, life feels a bit of a struggle.

But I'm only glad to have people around me - my friends, my family. Even at work, there are a few people who actually care. And it's very heartening to know that there is actually humanity.

Let me share with you a note one of my editors dropped to a few of us, which warmed my heart greatly. The email wasn't addressed to just me, though I knew.... it was for me. Here it is:

It was titled: 'Journalism'

"Hey girls,

I'm writing this note because I haven't found the time to talk to you all individually. 

I have no business to be here. I dropped out from poly in my first year, flunked my A levels and never went on to further my studies. After NS, I applied for an admin post at The Straits Times and got rejected because I didn't have the qualifications. 

You can check out my profile on LinkedIn. I started out as a graphic designer. It was something I picked up during National Service so I built up my portfolio with the newsletters that I designed during my two-year stint. One sports publisher that I joined allowed me to write after my work hours and that started my career in journalism. 

It wasn't easy. There were two of us designers in the firm and we handled 16 publications. 

But the best thing about journalism is that once you're out there and people know who you are, you would never need to look for another job again. Jobs will find you. 

Eventually TODAY offered me a job as a sub-editor.

Subs are supposed to edit for grammar and clarity, among other things. But for 10 over years, I worked under an editor who told the subs to "never touch copy". I learned by looking at the edited copy, by getting into the head of this editor called Rahul Pathak and imagining how he would have written it. 

In TV, my role model is Cheryl Lim. If I were a reporter, I would aim to be as good as Dawn Karen Tan. Go find out about her history. 

I'm telling you all this because you might be thinking to yourself: "What am I doing here"? "Is this the job for me?" "How far can I go in journalism?"

To be frank, I think we as editors have not invested the time to guide you properly, to talk you through how to go about your stories, so you might be feeling a little lost. Maybe we're used to reporters coming to us for guidance, so we don't offer it as a matter of course. 

But how far you go in this industry really depends on you. You can go about your daily routines, take each assignment as it comes and clock your hours, or you can grab the bull by its horns and strive to be the best journalist that you can be. This means seeking self improvement: Approaching fellow reporters/editors/LPs for advice, scrutinising changes to your scripts, or just reading published reports in print or online. 

And find your own stories! Every person you meet has a story to tell, but getting people to tell you their stories is an art in itself. That's something you'll have to develop and something that no one can teach you. But here's a tip: Be honest and sincere. Integrity is everything. 

The best reporters are the ones who bring in the scoops. When the day comes that you're doing more own stories than diary stuff, you know you have arrived. 

So please don't let the fact that you have lousy editors like myself stop you from chasing your goals. I sincerely hope that, one day, one of you will go on to become my boss. "

The last line was icing to the cake. 

p/s hi jeremy haha
p/p/s i hope people who read this know that they're not the only ones struggling in their own thoughts. we all do. i do.
p/p/p/s i've added an link above my tagboard. cos i think people prefer to write comments/ ask questions anonymously and if this helps with opening conversation, then by all means, flood that board!!!! (i still can't bear to remove that old school tagboard though hahaha)

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EM said...

Every time I visit your blog, I go away feeling much lighter, more uplifted. I really understand where you're coming from - missing that zest and drive and unbridled passion and the WKW spirit to go out there and achieve great things, and starting from scratch again in the workplace, trying not to lose ourselves amidst the daily grind and assignments. Thanks for sharing what your editor wrote, and you guys are really lucky to have him! It's a very important reminder

Tan Si Hui said...

:-) Thank Eeming for your comment!! I was heartened to see it. Let's do this together :-) Always available for lunch at the canteen hehe.

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